Home » Autos and Cars

Finding A Good Auto Mechanic

Apr 1, 2008
Let's talk about when you should look for a mechanic, and when you should just use the service shop at the car dealer. In general, most cars that are still under warranty should be looked at by the dealer shop if there's any mechanical problem with the car. One of the main reasons for this is that the warranty on the car is frequently void if anyone other than an authorized shop does any kind of repair on the car. This sometimes includes even maintenance that you may want to do yourself. So if you have a new car, or even a secondhand car that has an existing warranty, make sure that you read the warranty and find out what to can be done to maintain your car outside of the dealer's service shop. Generally if you like to do some regularly scheduled maintenance yourself, the warranty will remain in effect if you use dealer approved parts for the maintenance. If you plan on doing this, make sure you keep receipts for everything so that you can prove that you actually did the work. Also, several car dealerships will also offer bonuses like free oil change for a year, or other benefits. In general, make sure that you are fully aware of what benefits the dealership offers, and also what maintenance can be done outside of their shop.

Generally, a dealership service department is often regarded as more expensive than an independent mechanic. One way to test this out is to have some regular maintenance done at the dealer service department. For example, ask them to do an oil change, and remain in the area so that you can watch how they're doing it and what's been done. As you are waiting, watch the service department and pay attention to how the mechanics are treating the other cars that are presently being worked on. If other customers are waiting for their cars, ask them about their experiences with this service department. Ask the hourly shop for the service department, and also ask what certification training programs the service department has for its mechanics. Also, many times larger cities have a number of comments on the Internet about various mechanic shops in the area, and these include dealer service departments. Use Google to find these comments for your city.

For someone with an older car, finding a good dependable mechanic is oftentimes a long process. Check for certifications, such as ASE, and again, take your car in for minor service and watch how it's done, if possible. One of the best ways to find a good general mechanic is by word-of-mouth, including Internet word-of-mouth on various shops in your area. For people with older classic cars, one good way is simply finding other cars of similar make and model in parking lots, and starting up a conversation with the owner of that car. For people with more current cars, asking questions of coworkers, of neighbors, or your local church will often give you some leads towards a good mechanic.

Reevaluate your choice periodically. Whenever anyone brings up a car repair on some work that you have had done, listen to their comments on the cost of the repair, and how quickly their mechanic shop carried it out. Also, follow up after a time to see how well the repair has been maintained. It make take a few trials at different shops to find a good, trustworthy mechanic, but it is worth the effort.
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